Smoking and Running


I am a ex-smoker (5 years+) and was thinking .... is it possible to run and still be a smoker?

I have looked through the past smoking threads and they all seem to fall in one of the following camps:

1. I want to stop smoking

2. I stopped smoking and I feel so much better for it


I didn't want this to turn into a "pick on smoking" thread - but I am curious whether people who run still smoke?


  • My cousin is a fairly heavy smoker and he is much fitter than me and can run further and faster more effortlessly than I can, though ok this isn't hard really as before November last year I had never done any running of any nature.  He is an ex-soldier and has always kept his fitness level high while being a smoker.  I fall into your number 2 above, quitting about 6 years ago and genuinely feeling so much better for it.

  • I gave up smoking last summer, I wasn't exercising much at the time, and only started running in January this year and found that my breathing was quite good and felt great. I had tried to start running a couple of years ago whilst smoking and found it really hard, got out of breathe really quickly and my heart rate was through the roof.

    I fell of the non-smoking band wagon in April and started again. The difference in my breathing when running was quite noticeable after a few weeks. Now my heart rate goes up a lot higher when running at the same speeds and my breathing is more laboured.

    I gave up again last week so now waiting for the improvement again!

    I think that if you have a good level of fitness anyway it may not be such a difference but for someone who is trying to get fit it makes a big difference

  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭

    One of my club mates is a smoker.  He recently did his 100th marathon....

  • Yes it is possible to smoke and be a runner. It's unusual to see someone light up at a club do but not exactly unheard of. Drinking is bad for you too but they seem to be a lot more inclined to do that. Then again you are a non smoker. You're not going to start again are you?

  • I once passed a bloke on about mile 28 of a 35km race and he had just lit up a fag. As a smoker who just doesnt do it anymore and will miss it forever I admit to taking a few lungfuls as I passed him.


  • sorry I mean a 52km race

  • I cut down over 4 years and now only smoke when I have a drink, so probably 10 or so over a weekend. It will of course have a detrimental effect not only on my running but obviously on my health too. But, I do enjoy both vices after a tough working week so Im happy to balance the two with running and other training. I do however find training on a Monday night harder than a Wed and thats got to be down to the smoking.

    Maybe Ill quit if I ever get the motivation to tackle a marathon, right now Im stuck in the 10k and HM zone and have been for a while. If I did quit smoking the fri night drinks would have to go too. Life would become too boring then I think.


  • YKWYKW ✭✭✭

    Thanks all - appreciate the feedback.

    Some interesting feedback there.

  • I took up running last June and was a smoker until just over two weeks ago, averaging 10 a day generally.

    I never really felt like it caused me any particular problems with my running, and I've not noticed a vast improvement since stopping, although admittedly it is still early days. The morning cough has gone but I do sometimes still get a tickly throat at the end of runs. I've never felt like my breathing has been particularly laboured.

    I would always keep an eye out for other smokers at club/races but never saw a single one!

  • Carry on smoking then. We need the tax.

  • Haha there is that! But my bank balance also needs the money for shiny new running shoes.

  • The weirdest thing I think I've seen was a guy who, after finishing a half mara, picked up his bag, took a drink of water, and then lit up a fag.  Made me do a double-takeimage

  • Did my first marathon in 2011 sub 3 and first thing I did after finishing was light a cig. I'd been smoking 20 years.

    Dont smoke anymore (quit Dec 2011) and have knocked a chunk off all my PBs in the process but that s due mainly to more intensive training, not solely being smoke free.

    I do currently work for a cigarette company though!

  • One of the guys in my running club was a smoker, he had a very noticeable smoker's cough and was very slow up hills.

    I'm an ex-smoker, gave up 4 yrs ago (this time) - my lung capacity has increased once again, I don't miss it at all.

    I don't think sports and smoking combine well though.

  • ChimneyChimney ✭✭✭

    I was kinda hoping that running would persuade me to give up. It hasn't. 45 and been running 4 years. Into double figures for mara's. slowed to have a fag about 32 miles into a 40 miler last year. It's not big and it's not clever kids. 

    It's gonna catch up with me one day...... image 

    If reality matched intention I'd know I was dreaming
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